Animal protection officers are bracing for an annual summertime spike in calls about pets left unattended in hot vehicles, but are also reminding people to make a quick phone call before taking matters into their own hands.
“When the days get warmer we get hundreds of emergency calls to rescue dogs whose lives are endangered because they are left in hot cars by their guardians,” the B.C. SPCA’s community relations manager Lorie Chortyk said in a press release.
“Many well-meaning guardians leave their dogs unattended in parked cars while they run errands. Tragically, this can lead to serious heatstroke and even death for their pets in as little as 10 minutes.”
Penticton RCMP spokesman Cpl. Martin Trudeau cautioned, however, that it’s important to first call the SPCA or police if you see an animal in potential distress.
“Though well intended, some citizens may find themselves with an urge to force their way into a vehicle hoping to free a distressed animal.”
“Such an act on their part constitutes an act of mischief under the Criminal Code as only authorized agents such as the police or SPCA special constables have the authority to enter a premise or vehicle without a warrant to assist an animal in critical distress,” he explained.
He instead urged anyone who has concerns about an animal left in a hot vehicle to contact the SPCA, which can assess the situation and can liaise with the police to ensure proper action is taken to relieve the distress of the animal.
The SPCA’s toll-free animal cruelty hotline can be reached at 1-855-622-7722 during regular working hours. Otherwise, contact police by dialling 911.